Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Fifteen Dollar an Hour Minimum Wage, Pros and Cons



A New York Times piece crossed my desk a couple of days ago and it seems to see as much down as up-side. NYT writers Jim Tankersley and Emily Cochrane refer to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, so I guess that says it all—people with no skin in the game making judgements.

It’s bullshit, but we’ll take it a step at a time.


What happens if there’s a $15 minimum wage? The report projects:

• Higher pay for at least 17 million workers in the U.S., and maybe as many 27 million. Maybe? That’s a pretty wide spread, 8% of the entire population.

As many as 1.3 million people lifted out of poverty. What’s goin’ on with the numbers here? 47 million Americans live below the poverty line. You can pretty well be that all of them are making less, way less, than $15 an hour.

But an estimated 1.3 million Americans could be put out of work, and that figure could be as high as 3.7 million. Out of work? Explain that to me.
I remember that not all that long ago the experts told us that if gas hit $1.50 a gallon the economy could collapse. We’re paying twice that now and rolling along just fine. Pigs could fly as some will tell you, but don’t bet on it.


Let’s parse that.

Lower-paid workers would see their incomes rise.

Okay, sounds good to me and wonderful for them. And what would those lower paid workers do with that added income? What the Wal-Marts and Amazons of the so-called business community don’t seem to get through their thick heads is that 47 million Americans would love to replace their old dying fridge, buy a newer used car and maybe, just maybe, buy some clothes that aren’t hand-me-downs.

Mostly at the expense of business owners, who would earn lower profits because of increased labor costs

As per above, just how would business owners suffer lower profits, with 47 million brand new consumers?

and other higher-earning Americans, who would pay more for goods and services.

Yep, that’s true. That’s what always happens when wages rise, but we got out of that habit about forty years ago. And they’d be just fine, as they are now just fine with three-dollar gas.

The economy would be slightly smaller than it would have otherwise been, because of lost efficiency.

It’s efficient to have poorly paid workers? Not only does that statement denigrate the poor, it’s demonstrably false. Higher paid, motivated workers are always more efficient. That’s the engine upon which this nation was built (in the days when it still built things, instead of consuming the cheapest of the cheap).

(NYT again, winding up) The results are “likely to fuel both supporters and critics of a House bill. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, said in a letter to Democrats that the legislation would be considered next week, signaling that the House leadership felt confident in its ability to secure enough votes to pass the measure.”

Ah, now we’re talking about pigs flying again.

They probably will be able to pass such legislation, although it’s doubtful because Democrats are always doubtful.

But it’s dead-on-arrival in the Senate, because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t possibly let it come to the floor for a vote.

All of which proves that, under certain circumstances, pigs can fly.

There is no greater pig in Washington than Mitch McConnell and he’s flying high as a kite, while America swings in the wind and the Senate continues to fail its Constitutional duty under his leadership.

Don’t blame the New York Times, they’re just reporting the report.

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